Reviewby Tony Chen,
In the future, virtually everyone has a persocom, a personal computer in the shape of a beautiful, obedient, and fully functional humanoid girl. Meet Chi, a low class persocom that cannot connect to the Internet, exchange information with other persocoms, or do word processing. One day after work, a poor 19 year old virgin named Hideki Motosuwa finds Chi wrapped up in large bandages and surrounded by many trash bags. Finding himself very lucky to discover a persocom that didn't have an owner, Hideki decides to keep Chi. Soon after bringing Chi home, Hideki finds out that there might be more to Chi than her child like personality lets on.
Having never read a Manga title by CLAMP, I was very curious to see what the hype about this group of female Manga creators was all about. Though, Chobits is only CLAMP's second Manga aimed primarily at the male population, it still has that cute kind of shoujo feeling presented in most of CLAMP's other works. Chobits is a wonderfully pleasant story about the relationship between Hideki and his mysterious persocom, Chi.
Chobits offers a lot of lighthearted comedy that is sure to put smiles on many faces. Many jokes involve the main character Hideki, and his embarrassing moments with women. Even though this isn't a new approach to characterizing the ever so hormone-crazed guys we see in many Manga today, it is still a fun character trait to work with, and one that will indeed never get old. And while the theme may not be new, the approach is.
The way CLAMP executes the development of Chi's character, growing her from what is basically the mental equivalent of a five-year-old child to a much more intelligent and complex being, is not only clever but also very cute. What's more, the way Hideki teaches Chi, as if acting as her parent or older sibling, is just a treat to see and is a kind of interaction between two people I have never seen in a Manga before.
Even though the atmosphere of the story seems very cheerful and lighthearted, CLAMP does a wonderful job presenting some of Chobit's more serious topics that move the plot along. The overall mysteriousness of Chi is what really keeps readers interested and flipping pages rapidly to see what will happen next. Another interesting theme put into play is that of humans and their affectionate relationships with persocoms. Clamp does a wonderful job exposing the subject of whether or not humans can have relationships with human-looking androids, similar in theme to Ghost in the Shell and Armitage, but very different in execution. Chobits has a nicely put together plot that really has no faults that come to mind.
With regards to the art of Chobits , the lack of detail on some of the character designs is quite noticeable. Even though Chi and the other persocoms are very cute and well drawn as with many of the other persocoms, the humans could have used a bit more polishing up, in clothing and/or hair, added to them so they wouldn't look so dull in comparison to the persocoms. A nice thing that was done for all the characters, though, was the way their expressions were drawn. Expressions of sadness, happiness, anger and many more are very distinct on the faces of the characters, a very nice addition that helps to decrease the dullness of the human drawings.
The translation is almost perfect, there are no misprints to be found in either of the first two volumes of Chobits. There is, however, one translation issue that is a little disturbing; the way the persocoms' Japanese names are translated into English. They are all translated into the literal English equivalent, for exampleThe name “Sumomo,” whose Japanese name means “Plum” had her name changed to Plum. I see no reason to change any names in a Manga and it's a disappointment that TOKYOPOP would do so. Keeping a Manga in 100% original format should also require keeping the original Japanese names as well.
The best thing about Chobits is it has a solid plot, it is a wonderfully entertaining story that would be a great installment in anybody's Manga collection.
+ Solid plot, persocom character designs
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